How many times in the last six months have you asked yourself, “What the heck am I supposed to do next?”
Feeling lost or directionless seems to be a hallmark of 2020. That begs the question: if you’re lost, do you want a road map or a compass?
Many of us would jump at a map. “Yes! Please just get me from A to B. Show me the way through today’s chaos.”
But maps are useless when floods, avalanches, earthquakes, and sandstorms obliterate roads.
Thank God that His direction is not a road map but a compass!
So what is God’s compass? I believe it’s the word “possible.”
The Bible tells us repeatedly that all things are possible with God. The angel of the Lord told barren Sarah that (Genesis 18:14). Jesus told His disciples that (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27).
Other than the Resurrection, my favorite example of “possible” is Jeremiah. As Babylonian armies besieged Jerusalem, the imprisoned prophet bought a field from his cousin as a symbol of the redemption God would bring to Israel. Seeing God’s “possible” beyond the present reality, Jeremiah prayed, “Oh, Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!” (Jeremiah 32:17 BSB)
We don’t need a road map nearly as much as the One who can unerringly navigate for us. The trick is to figure out how to live by a compass instead of a road map.
I think that can be summed up with three P’s.
In biblical times, corps of men would prepare the roads in advance of a king’s trip. They would remove boulders and downed trees that blocked the road, fill in ruts, and smooth the roads for safer travel. Isaiah elevated this act to a spiritual plane when he prophesied, “Prepare the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert” (Isaiah 40:3 BSB).
Malachi 3:1 prophesied a special messenger would be sent ahead of Jesus to prepare His coming, and Jesus testified that was John the Baptist (Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 7:27). Jesus said He would prepare a place for us in heaven (John 14:3).
The day before the onset of Shabbat is called “Preparation Day” (Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31). But, scripturally, preparation is more than advance planning.
Preparation is a call to holiness. Preparation is putting away everything that would get in the way of putting God first in one’s life.
- When the Israelites repented of their sins and prepared their hearts to serve God only, He delivered them from the Philistines without the Israelites lifting a finger (1 Samuel 7:2-4).
- Peter’s first round-robin letter exhorted believers to prepare their minds for action so they could be effective and energetic for God’s purposes (1 Peter 1:13).
- Paul described part of our spiritual armor as shoes shod “with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15 NKJV).
This unique word for “preparation,” found only in this verse, means the firm footing (foundation) of the Gospel. Paul drew that visual from the Romans guards’ caligae—heavy sandals studded with hobnails that give them a secure foothold to stand firm in battle.
Notably, preparation always precedes blessings.
Preparation isn’t enough to follow God’s compass. Persistence must follow preparation.
Paul’s letters emphasized persistence:
- “Pay close attention to your life and to your teaching. Persevere in these things, for by so doing you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16 BSB).
- “Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2 HCSB).
- “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persistent in prayer” (Romans 12:12 BSB).
That leads us to the last “P.”
Not surprisingly, prayer is the glue that holds all this together. It helps us prepare our hearts. It enables us to persist despite discouragements. It’s the lens through which we glimpse His “possible.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing (incessantly). That oft-quoted verse is often misconstrued and abused, causing unnecessary guilt and condemnation. Prayer is an internal posture—not an external position. Click To Tweet
Paul meant we should live in a devotional frame of mind—attentively and joyfully ready to pray at any moment. This keeps an open channel between us and God for making our requests known to Him and maintaining our rejoicing before God.
“Pray without ceasing” points to perseverance, not run-on prattling. Pray without fainting in strength. Pray in good times and bad times. Don’t let diversions keep you from prayer.
Although we’d feel more comfortable navigating life with a road map, God gives us a compass instead. His compass reminds us that God-sized dreams are His “possible”—and He wants us to share in them. Let us keep our eyes fixed on the One who makes all things possible!